Thursday, May 15, 2008

Talking to you means you're awesome

A 2-Yglesias-post day. Responding to McCain's idiotic notion that merely talking to someone enhances their prestige, Matthew Yglesias asks:
Our guys talk to their guys, the meeting happens, and this gives Khatami enhanced prestige in the eyes of whom? And what does this enhanced prestige allow him to do? What, in other words, are we afraid of?
The answer is that this isn't foreign policy, it's imperialism. When you believe yourself to be the center of all that is right and good in the world, you believe that legitimacy is something that you have a monopoly on, and distracting people who speak different languages are best ignored, lest we Simply by talking to people we don't like, we give them legitimacy and prestige -- something that we have a monopoly on, and they certainly don't get by such tawdry means as winning elections.

Or, as Winston Churchill said of another insurgent back in the day:
"It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half-naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organizing and conducting a defiant campaign of civil disobedience, to parley on equal terms with the representative of the king-emperor."
Unfortunately for Churchill, the King-Emperor, and the Empire itself, monopoly didn't flow downhill from Buckingham Palace, it also flowed uphill from those pesky Indians themselves. And whether we like it or not, we don't get to pick and choose who runs which countries in the world.

1 comment:

Steve Muhlberger said...

I love that Churchill/Ghandi quote.

BTW, "Middle Temple" should be capped, since it indicates that G. got his legal training from the most prestigious source in London, the Temple district.

And thus W.C.'s nausea at Ghandi playing both the British legal/moral game and the Indian "fakir" game.